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How to Save the Economy in 2012: Go Shopping!

After years of diminishing sales, holiday shoppers gave retailers hope in 2011. Crazy promotions on Black Friday and Cyber Monday helped numbers reached 2007 levels this December—the highest they've been since the stock market crash of 2008.

To be clear, it's not like most people are spending on Chloé bags and Pierre Hardy wedges without restraint. The bulk of the sales were due to markdowns, as customers are still reluctant to pay full price. (Example: $700 Celine loafers scored for $79.)

WWD predicts that ast month was the beginning of a slow progress, with "growing pains before the next growth spurt." But strong December sales are just one indication of a healthier economy. Another sign of future flush times is the abundance of color on the spring runways. "In economic times like these, the consumer wants inspiration. She wants to feel good," said Susan Sussman, a luxury strategist. "The trend of colors and prints was very uplifting." In the midst of the recession, the catwalk was rife with long skirts and dour colors—so spring's flamboyant tones may be a telling prediction.

Hard numbers and bright hues aside, there's no way to exactly determine what will happen with the economy. But, we can suggest a great way to help: go shopping. There's plenty of amazing winter stuff on sale. And spring merchandise is just beginning to hit the racks. So consider buying something you truly love at full price. Not only will you get to appreciate your investment throughout the entire season, you'll also be giving the economy a boost. Best excuse ever! Happy New Year, everyone. We hope your 2012 is full of smart spending and one-of-kind buys.

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